Writer Development Program

Want to use the written word to honor God and edify people? Join our Writer Development Program. You’ll be challenged to work hard to hone your craft in a collaborative and supportive community.

Apply for the Program

The Vision

The Austin Stone Institute’s Writer Development Program (WriterDev) exists to create a healthy writer community and to train writers to be faithful creators who steward their writing gift in a way that honors God and edifies people.

Built by writers for writers, WriterDev offers training in genres ranging from devotionals and short stories to group curriculum and screenplays. The variety essentially condenses four or more years of a typical writing program into eight months. It also teaches how the written word, be it a dystopian novel, business book, or theological treatise, can point people to God, the Ultimate Creator.

At WriterDev, words matter because words are powerful. Writers who wield them well become leaders. They influence culture and effect change through thoughtfully-crafted words. As writers who believe in Jesus, we have been given a calling through Christ: we can use our words to comfort the hurting, set free the captive, give sight to the blind, and proclaim the Good News of our great God.

Even if you don’t think of yourself as a writer but love to shape words and want to learn to wield them powerfully for the Kingdom, this training program is for you.

If you do think of yourself as a writer and want to grow in your craft and engage with a community that desires to magnify God and lead people through writing, this program is for you.

Apply for the Program

We’re not looking for writing experts

We’re looking for people who:

  • Exhibit humility. WriterDev believes regular feedback is crucial for creating excellent work.
  • Pursue excellence. We are dedicated to growing and strive for excellence, not perfection.
  • Desire collaborative experiences. You will work alongside other writers in group trainings and cohorts to grow your craft together

If any of those ideas resonate, you should apply for The Austin Stone Institute’s Writer Development Program.

Apply for the Program

Why should you apply?

The Writer Development Program offers comprehensive training and thriving community for writers. Its end goal is to develop writers like you to use their writing gift for the glory of God and the flourishing of people, both in the local church and in the world.


covers everything


training program

128 hours

of directed training

Applications are currently closed but will reopen in March 2019. While you wait, gather your writing samples—a sample is required with your application—and connect with the WriterDev community by joining us for the next Worship Collective. We’d love to meet you and hear about your relationship with words!

“The teaching, reading, and feedback has been formative as a writer and Christian. Spending time with my WriterDev cohort is the highlight of my week!”

WriterDev has given me a community that cares about what I’m writing, how I’m writing, and to whom I’m writing. Writing can be tedious and isolating, but WriterDev rescues me from both. It has given me a community that pushes me to grow and that cares about me as a person and a writer.

“WriterDev has been an answer to prayer I didn’t know to ask. The books we’re reading, the monthly trainings, and the challenging critiques are improving my craft and clarifying my ideas at a faster rate than I ever could have hoped. WriterDev is teaching the body of Christ to express herself truthfully, beautifully, and effectively.”

“In the midst of a stressful, busy semester, WriterDev has been the highlight of each week. It’s challenged me to deal with my approval and comfort idols. I can already see that however God ultimately uses my writing, I will have grown through participating in this program.”

James Hart

Marlon Bailey

Hannah Lopez

Beth Youngdale

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Writer Development Program?

The Writer Development Program is a new 8 month-long training program at The Austin Stone created by writers for writers.

Our goal is to train writers in our church to be faithful creators who reflect God as the ultimate Creator. We hope to do this by producing excellent work that communicates Truth with clarity and love, all for the glory of God and the edification of His local church.

If you love to write and want to learn to steward that gift well, we encourage you to apply! This program focuses on training the writer as a whole person. A sampling of topics we’ll cover include: the intersection of theology and creativity, what it means to be a Christian who writes, and the necessity of regular collaboration and critique. We’ll also spend plenty of time honing the practical skills of good writing, and, because we believe that ‘cross-training’ is helpful to development, we’ll practice a variety of writing types.

Who should apply?

Applicants need to have completed the Austin Stone Men’s and Women’s Development Program or Leadership Development Program or a similarly rigorous theological training program. At this time, the Writer Development Program is for adults over 18 years of age.

Is there a cost associated with the Writer Development Program?

In order to cover program resources, there will be a $299 program fee for each participant. However, we don’t want finances to be an inhibitor of participation. Please contact writerdev@austinstone.org to discuss any concerns regarding this fee.

What does my $299 cover?

The program fee covers resources and costs associated with the program, such as facility rental and curriculum.

How long is the Writer Development Program?

Writer Development Program runs from October 2018 to May 2019.

When will I receive a reply regarding acceptance to the program?

You will receive a confirmation email on completion and receipt of your application. All applicants to the program will receive a final response regarding program participation by September 1st, 2018.

What is the structure of this program?

The Writer Development Program is holistic in its approach. Monthly rhythms include group trainings, individual assignments, regular deadlines, and cohort critique sessions. Be prepared to share your work with others and receive feedback so you can grow as a writer.

Large group meetings will generally be one Wednesday night/month from 6:30pm-9pm and will focus on theology and practical skill training.

Each participant will be assigned to a smaller cohort that will meet twice per month to do more in-depth learning, writing practice, and critique.

We will also gather as a creative community various times throughout the year for meetups with other creatives, panels and writing-related discussions, meals, and events in the great Austin creative community. These times will not be mandatory but will be highly encouraged… trust us, you’ll want to be there!

I have never really written before, but I want to learn to write. Should I still apply?

You can still apply; however, please know that we require a writing sample from all applicants. Some basic knowledge of writing form and function will be helpful but is not required.

When is the application deadline?

Applications are due by midnight, August 15th, 2018.

Who do I contact with specific questions?

Please email writerdev@austinstone.org with any specific questions.

Let’s Write.
Apply Today:

Applications are closed until March 2019.

While you wait for the application period to open, get involved with our writer community by joining the Worship Collective.

Get Notified in March